The Post-Surgical and Keratoconic Synergeyes lenses designs that we now use is the result of over 25 years of technological advancements. This is a lens technology that is evolving and will continue to evolve over the months and years to come as we better come to understand the wide variety of irregular, traumatized corneas that must be treated. The Synergeyes Post-Surgical lens is the first FDA approved hybrid contact lens specifically designed for patients with irregularly shaped corneas due to refractive surgery such as LASIK, corneal trauma, and degenerative ocular conditions including corneal corneal transplants and/or Intacs for keratoconus.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, approximately 5% of LASIK patients are dissatisfied with their outcome and experience post-operative conditions such as eye pain, blurred or double vision, shadows and ghost images and an inability to drive at night. Because LASIK and other refractive eye surgeries permanently alter the shape of the eye, traditional contact lenses and eyeglasses cannot provide the additional vision correction needed. This is why Synergeyes developed this unique lens technology to address the challenges of restoring clear, stable predictable vision, even at night to so many patients.
Now to answer the question: “What exactly is a Synergeyes hybrid lens”? The hybrid lens design bonds a highly oxygen permeable rigid lens in the center to a soft lens skirt in the periphery. The rigid central portion is available in a number of varying curves as is the soft skirt. The right combination of rigid and soft skirt curves allows us to optimize the lens fit. The benefit of the soft portion is to provide comfort and lens stability. In many cases the soft lens skirt aids in lens centration which helps to improve vision. The care of the Synergeyes hybrid lens is much the same as with a soft lens.
Many patients who have suffered vision loss due to LASIK, keratoconus or other corneal conditions often ask why they cannot use a soft lens to correct their vision.
1. The irregular corneal shape or contour is passed right on through the soft lens. In other words, where the cornea is steep or very curved the soft lens will be very steep or curved. Where the cornea is very flat, the soft lens will lie very flat also. In other words, the soft lens will take on the same shape as the misshapen cornea and obtaining acceptable vision is highly unlikely. The rigid portion of the hybrid lens essentially replaces the cornea as an optical surface. The resultant vision is almost always excellent as is the comfort.
2. Most of the post-surgical and keratoconic irregular corneas that we see are very dry. Many of these corneas are missing a portion of the outer layer of corneal cells known as the epithelium. The corneal epithelium must remain whole in order to provide ocular nutrition and promote corneal health and comfort. Placing a soft lens on this type of cornea may intensify the conditions described above. That is because a soft lens lies directly on top of the compromised corneal tissue. As the soft lens dries out, so to does the underlying corneal tissue. This may become more pronounced as the lens ages from the very first day of use.
Many of the patients with conditions described above had been wearing rigid gas permeable lenses before unsuccessfully. Many patients were able to see well but could only tolerate their rigid lenses for a very short amount of time. The reason for this two-fold: The friction or rubbing of the rigid lens on the dry compromised irregular cornea creates further corneal irritation. The second reason is that most of these corneas are so irregular that creating a stable fitting lens is nearly impossible. The Synergeyes lenses are designed to vault over the compromised corneal tissue to permit oxygen and tears to enter through the lens and beneath it. The lenses are extremely stable with very little lens movement. In most cases, this form of lens-cornea relationship allows the corneal epithelium to regenerate and over time the irregular cornea often becomes smoother and